Hare Krishna Temple in Chicagoland celebrates Govardhan Puja and Diwali 

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Hundreds of devotees attended the Diwali and Govardhan Puja celebrations Oct. 25, 2022, in Chicago’s ISKCON temple. Photo: ISKCON

Govardhan Puja and Diwali were celebrated October 25, 2022, by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, at its Chicago temple, with hundreds of devotees participating in the pomp and joy.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as the Hare Krishna movement, and popularly known as the Hare Krsna Temple has had a presence in the Chicago area since the early 1970s, a press release from the organization said.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, speaking at the Oct. 25, 2022, Diwali and Govardhan Puja celebrations at ISKCON temple in Chicago. Photo: ISKCON

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, from the 8th  congressional district attended and spoke during the festival. “The Universe is our family and. we treat everybody with honor, dignity, respect, and equality, and we treat everyone as we want to be treated ourselves,” Krishnamoorthi is quoted saying in the press release.

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The ISKCON temple in Rogers Park, also celebrated the Govardhan Puja.

The organization said people from many nationalities, races and religions showed up at the temple to celebrate the annual Festival of Lights and the Govardhan Puja, the main ritual performed during Annkut.

Govardhan puja showing the Annakut display of foods offered to the gods, at the Oct. 25, 2022, Diwali and Govardhan puja celebrations at ISKCON temple in Chicago. Photo: ISKCON

“Although some texts treat Govardhan Puja and Annkut as synonymous, the Govardhan Puja is one segment of the day-long Annkut festival,” ISKCON said.

As described in the Bhagavata Purana, Govardhan Puja is chiefly identified with Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill on his finger to protect those who sought his refuge from Indra’s torrential rage, the press release noted.

A vast array of vegetarian foods traditionally arranged in tiers or steps in front of the deities, is the main ritual of the Annakut.  Usually, the sweets are placed nearest to the Deities. As the tiers descend, other foods such as ‘dal’, vegetables, pulses and fried savory foods are arranged. A mound of cooked grains, symbolic of Mount Govardhan, is placed in the center.

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